Tring Athletic see off Hadley to get the season up and running
Tring Athletic put an end to their rotten run of results against Hadley as they ran out 3-1 winners to pick up their first three points of the season.
After no wins in the previous six meetings between the two sides, Tring started the game in blistering style, scoring twice within the first 15 minutes.
It could have been four, but Tring did manage to add a crucial third goal deep into the second half.
When Hadley – managed by former Spurs and Chelsea player Micky Hazard – finally got into their stride, Athletic defended well.
Athletic were reduced to 10 men for the last 10 minutes, during which time the visitors finally got on the scoresheet, but it was too late to rescue anything from the game.
Athletic should have taken the lead after only six minutes when Taylor Collins and Chris Vardy combined to give Stewart King a clear chance but somehow the keeper pulled off a remarkable save whilst lying on the floor.
King had a great opportunity to make up for his miss two minutes later when Taylor Collins slipped him through with a neat pass after some fine play by Trevor Gibbs, but the Athletic centre forward fired his shot over the bar.
Those misses were soon forgotten about in the 12th minute when Collins and Vardy combined to set up Ollie Butler who converted the cross from close range.
Athletic took the game by the scruff of the neck three minutes later when Gibbs, Vardy and Greg Deer presented King with another sight of goal, and this time he didn’t falter.
As the half drew to a close, Hadley started to get more possession but the Athletic defence was well marshalled by skipper Chris Salmon and the home side went into the break with a commanding lead.
Home keeper Matt Evans had to come off his line quickly at the restart as Hadley pushed hard to get a foothold in the game.
The visitors were now dominating possession and Evans made a good save from Ben Luck, but gradually Athletic started to become more prominent in attack again with Collins and Gibbs going close.
Evans pulled off another good save, this time from sub Ivan Machedo, and Vardy tried an audacious volley from 40 yards.
In the 76th minute, Athletic broke quickly from a Hadley corner, with Ryan Sturges and Ryan McMahon linking up well to set Vardy free into the opposition area.
Vardy was forced wide but, from a very acute angle, he produced an exquisite chip over the keeper to set his side on the path to their first victory of the season. McMahon was rather harshly shown two yellow cards within a minute and Athletic had to play out the last 10 minutes with a player short.
Kieran Smith found the corner of the net with a raking shot from outside the box but, with only five minutes left on the clock, it was too late to make any difference to the final outcome